Newsprint billionaire Peter Brant has reportedly been firing Interview staff left and right, to cut costs. But he still had $50 million for a new 15-passenger private jet, we're told.
There's no doubt art-collector Brant is trying to rein in expenses at his pet magazine, which he acquired from Andy Warhol's estate nearly 20 years ago. When co-editorial director Fabien Baron left last week, hot on the heels of former publisher Andy Katz, insiders told Women's Wear Daily Baron had been pushed out in part because he was was too pricey. Wrote WWD:
Interview's bottom line was not as large as had been expected to cushion those big expenditures - particularly Baron's pricy fashion spreads
Amid all the cost cutting, Brant took delivery of a new, $50 million Bombardier Global Express, a former employee tells us, the same plane operated by flailing insurance giant AIG. (The FAA's online plane registry went down just now, immediately after we submitted a name search, so we couldn't verify this, but the price is right.)
The acquisition might have looked less gauche had it been kept compartmentalized from the magazine. Brant, after all, now has six paper mills in two countries, following an acquisition, and paper manufacture, not publishing, is how he amassed his fortune.
But Brant's wife Stephanie Seymour is an editor at the magazine, just like his last wife. Which means her trips on the plane are, we and others would wager, classified for tax purposes as business excursions, tax deductibility being a key benefit of private corporate jet ownership.
Which leads people like our tipster to weigh the extravagance of the jet against Brant's cuts at the magazine:
The fuel cost for one of his trips to Palm Beach could keep 3 people employed for a year. What a nice guy to work for right?
If you get to ride on the jet, sure. Everyone else can fend for themselves.